Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF JACKSON COUNTY, MISSOURI. THE
HONORABLE S. MARGENE BURNETT, JUDGE.
Phox, Appellant, Acting Pro-se.
B. Broussard, for Respondent.
Division One: Lisa White Hardwick, Presiding Judge, Victor C.
Howard, Judge and Gary D. Witt, Judge. All concur.
C. HOWARD, J.
LaRonda Phox appeals the judgment of the trial court
dismissing without prejudice her pro se complaint against
Joann Boes for failure to state a cause of action. Ms. Phox
asserts that the trial court erred in granting defendant
Joann Boes's motion to dismiss. Finding that the trial
court's judgment does not constitute a final judgment for
purposes of appeal, this Court dismisses the appeal.
and Procedural Background
to the trial court's judgment granting Ms. Boes's
motion to dismiss, the facts upon which Ms. Phox's claims
are based were not articulated in the pleadings, and were
only revealed to the court through her testimony at oral
argument. Ms. Phox testified that she obtained a car title
loan from one or more of the defendants, and the automobile
securing the loan was repossessed, at which time she had not
paid the loan amount in full.
trial court found that " even with substantial effort to
construe the pleadings in a light most favorable to
Plaintiff, it is unclear what facts are alleged to support
any of the named causes of action." The court further
contemplated that even if the facts to which she testified at
the hearing could possibly support a cause of action for
wrongful repossession, Ms. Phox would not be able to prevail
on the claim, as she admittedly was in default on the loan at
the time of repossession. The trial court concluded that
" [a] close examination of Plaintiff's pleadings
establishes that there has not been a viable cause of action
[pled], and, therefore, Defendant's Motion must be
GRANTED." This appeal by Ms. Phox followed.
review of the trial court's judgment of dismissal is
de novo. Lynch v. Lynch, 260 S.W.3d 834,
836 (Mo. banc 2008). " As a preliminary issue, however,
a reviewing court has a duty to determine its jurisdiction
sua sponte." Cramer v. Smoot, 291
S.W.3d 337, 338 (Mo. App. S.D. 2009). " An appeal will
lie only from a final judgment disposing of all issues and
all parties, leaving nothing for future consideration.
Without a final judgment, an appellate court lacks
jurisdiction, and the appeal must be dismissed."
Id. at 339 (internal citations and quotations
trial court's order of June 26, 2014, indicates it
dismissed the cause without prejudice. " Ordinarily,
when an action is dismissed without prejudice, a plaintiff
may cure the dismissal by filing another suit in the same
court." Id. (quoting Osuji v. Mo. Dept. of
Soc. Servs., Div. of Family Servs., 34 S.W.3d 251, 253
(Mo. App. E.D. 2000)). Thus, generally a dismissal without
prejudice is not a final judgment and, therefore, ...